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If We Don’t Turnout to Vote Older White Electorate Will Get to Decide On Issues That Impact Us

If We Don’t Turnout to Vote Older White Electorate Will Get to Decide On Issues That Impact Us

  • With your vote, you create not only the society you wish for you and your loved ones to live in but also leave your legacy to future generations.

Voting is fundamental to our democracy, yet barely two out of three voting-age citizens in the oldest democracy on earth voted in the 2020 presidential election and it was considered a historic turnout.  According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “Turnout in the United States is below average among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a grouping of mostly high-income countries. Turnout in the 2020 U.S. national elections was 62 percent, three points below the OECD average of 65 percent. Some of the highest-turnout countries include Turkey, Sweden, and Belgium, at 78 percent or higher; Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Chile are among the lowest, at 51 percent or lower.” Reflect on that for a moment — America’s turnout is less than Turkey’s!

Looking at 2018 midterm turnout according to, “Fifty-three percent of the citizen voting-age population voted in 2018, the highest midterm turnout in four decades”  — barely one out of two voters showing up for midterms was again “highest,”  behind the 2018 U.S. midterm election turnout. I get it since our baseline is so low, these numbers are “historic”, but it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Because we have learnt the hard way that elections have serious consequences and are a matter of life and death. 

Every Vote Matters

While there are many reasons people don’t vote; an often cited reason by voters is:  “my one vote won’t matter.” Nothing could be further from the truth. 

  • In 2017, a single vote led to this drama of who controls the Virginia House of Delegates.  Yes a single vote.
  • In the 2016 presidential election, Michigan’s electoral votes were decided by 10,000 votes which equated to two votes per precinct.
  • Going back to 2000 presidential election, Al Gore’s loss to George W. Bush was just 537 votes out of 6 million votes cast in Florida. 537 votes. One State.
  • As the most powerful nation on earth, U.S. elections decide trajectories not only of our states and of our country but those of several nations, the planet and millions around the world. We must fully participate in our democracy knowing that our vote not only matters for the survival of our own democracy but as a voice that changes the lives of those who we will never see or know. 

Rays of Hope

Thankfully, in every recent election Americans participation in the electoral process is increasing and the 2022 midterm early vote is breaking records. We know Americans will turn out in record numbers through this November 8th because of the existential issues that are on the ballot. When the stakes are high, America responds. We saw this when Wisconsin voters showed up to vote in April 2020 when we were in the throes of the early unknown and scary days of the pandemic. 

Athena, who despite having mobility issues and is busy writing her college essays, insisted on going to vote when she turned 18.

I was also heartened to learn about this incident recently. A friend’s daughter Athena, who has mobility issues and is writing her college essays, easily had valid reasons to not vote in this midterm election. But, as soon as she turned 18, she insisted her father help her register to vote and she cast her first vote proudly in-person last week. Athena was joyful to exercise her right to vote and she was excited like she had sent her Christmas list to Santa.  Asked why she wanted to vote, she said: “I consider it my civic duty. I wanted to have a better community and the voices of girls, and the disabled heard. This is the process to give voice to many who cannot speak up for themselves.”

The key word that struck me in her response was “process.” We often hear slogans “your vote is your voice” when “vote” is the noun, but we don’t appreciate enough the verb or action “Vote” which is the integral process of democracy that must be continuously followed to sustain it.  What if one single person like Athena had voted in Virginia and decided who controls the Virginia House of Delegates?

Why Votes of Communities of Color Matter 

See Also

Per the latest census in 2020, communities of color make up about 40% of the U.S. population and have a median age of 31.  Yet midterm voters are typically white and older although they account for only 60% of the population and have a median age of 53.  The 2018 midterms changed that electorate composition with racial minorities increasing their turnout significantly, but 2022 early vote data shows that Caucasian voters are accounting for almost 80% of the early votes cast while they represent only about 60% of the population. If communities of color don’t show up to vote on November 8th, they are essentially allowing an older White population to decide on issues that impact us the most.

If we don’t turnout, we will have to live by the decisions made for us.  Don’t forget that communities of color did not get the right to vote, we had to fight for the right to vote. We shouldn’t let those sacrifices and bloodshed go in vain especially when so much is at stake for our communities. Remember the images of Athena and Wisconsin voters, these are the heroes of our democracy – you just lost your last excuse to not vote.

Please exercise your sacred, hard fought right every election, not just every 4-years.  With your vote, you create not only the society you wish for you and your loved ones to live in but also leave as your legacy to future generations. Yes, every single vote matters, please go to Everything You Need to Vote – and make a plan to vote on November 8.

Anu Kosaraju is cofounder of the private facebook group ‘Indian Americans for Biden-Harris’ and a community organizer partnering with grassroots groups to increase civic engagement among South Asians and communities of color. 

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The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of American Kahani.
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